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Hansen at COP28

The way forward for vitality and the Mountain State

The twenty eighth United Nations Local weather Change Convention (COP28) in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, got here to an in depth this previous Tuesday. World leaders in authorities, enterprise, finance and vitality (renewable and, sure, fossil fuels) got here collectively for almost two weeks of studying, discussing and negotiating. On the finish, representatives from almost 200 international locations produced a “international stocktake” and acknowledged that international emissions should be reduce almost in half by 2030 to keep up a worldwide warming of not more than 1.5 levels Celsius.

Among the many presenters was West Virginia’s personal Evan Hansen — Home of Delegates District 79 consultant and    Downstream Methods president.

Hansen sat on a panel addressing China’s vitality manufacturing — each coal and renewables — and one other that mentioned “simply and inclusive” transitions for fossil gas areas.

Though many in America are fast to justify our personal fossil gas use by pointing the finger at China, China is the world chief in photo voltaic and wind. Sure, it’s nonetheless producing coal (which it says will peak in 2025), but it surely additionally has 3 times as many wind and photo voltaic installations because the U.S. If China can launch renewables on such a big scale, America ought to be capable to, as nicely.

Which ends up in Hansen’s different matter: Shifting away from fossil fuels.

Researchers at WVU, as we’ve talked about earlier than, are engaged on extracting uncommon earth components from acid mine drainage. REEs are important parts in expertise and are primarily imported from China. Sooner or later, West Virginia and different (former) coal states might present a home provide of REEs.

We’ve made observe beforehand that there isn’t an apples-to-apples transition for individuals who work in fossil fuels, notably the coal trade. However that doesn’t imply we will’t begin getting ready the following era to do one thing apart from mine coal. To us, the important thing to a “simply and inclusive” transition is to usher in industries that will require roughly the identical quantity of training/coaching — if not the identical skillset — and that provide comparable pay and advantages.

Simply because the transition received’t be completely clean and straightforward doesn’t imply that we will’t or shouldn’t make it. If we’re not cautious, the world will transfer on with out us.

Hansen would be the first to say West Virginia’s leaders have made strides towards embracing renewable vitality, however we’ve seen loads of foot-dragging within the halls of the Capitol as lawmakers desperately cling to coal. We predict Hansen, amongst others, might really assist transfer the Mountain State ahead, however his contributions have been artificially restricted as a result of he’s a member of the minority occasion.

The truth that Hansen was requested to current for a global viewers at one of many world’s largest environmental occasions speaks to his data and experience. We hope his fellow legislators take observe and hear not simply to the teachings he took with him to Dubai, however to the teachings he introduced again that might assist safe West Virginia a spot on this new period.